How to Delete iTunes From Mac OS X

Feb 6, 2012 - 28 Comments

Delete iTunes

We recently showed you how to delete Safari, Mail, and other default apps installed with Mac OS X, and procedurally iTunes is not much different. Unlike uninstalling applications from third parties, if you attempt to drag the iTunes app into the Trash can, you’ll see a dialog box warning that ‘“” can’t be modified or deleted because it’s required by Mac OS X.’

Nonetheless iTunes can be deleted from the Mac, but without a very good reason it should not be done. iTunes is integral to supporting other Apple features and hardware, ranging from the App Store to the iTunes Store, and without iTunes installed you won’t be able to sync apps, music, books, movies, and anything else with an iPad, iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV. Assuming you understand that and you still want to remove iTunes from your Mac, this tutorial will show you how to delete iTunes from the computer.

How to Delete iTunes

Deleting iTunes is not recommended unless you know what you’re doing. Nonetheless, if you want to delete iTunes from a Mac, here is how you perform that action:

  1. Launch Terminal from the Utilities folder within Applications
  2. Type the following commands:
  3. cd /Applications/
    This brings you into the Applications directory, the next command deletes iTunes itself:
    sudo rm -rf

  4. Enter the Administrator password to confirm

There is no warning or confirmation other than entering the admin password, iTunes will immediately be deleted, effectively uninstalling it from the Mac.

Deleting the iTunes application will not delete the iTunes library or music, and any purchases bought through iTunes will still remain tied to the Apple ID used to originally buy them.

Why delete iTunes?

Virtually nobody should delete iTunes from a computer, it is integral to the functioning of Mac OS and the media system and interacting with iOS devices.

Typically the only reason someone would delete iTunes on a Mac is to either downgrade to a prior version of iTunes software (by then installing the older version after removing the recent one), or if you are setting up a locked down workstation and want to remove iTunes for that reason.

I Accidentally Deleted iTunes, Help!

If you find yourself somehow accidentally deleting iTunes, don’t fret too much because it’s always easy to reinstall. You can download the newest version directly from Apple, and running their installer will bring iTunes back to life on your computer.


Related articles:

Posted by: William Pearson in iTunes, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. Alan A. says:

    Worked great for me on El Capitan!

    A different post I tried had the command wrong as “rn” when it was “rm” that worked.

    Thank you SO much.

  2. info.t says:

    Unless you are one of the mindless fanboys, itunes is pure pain.
    Use VLC.

  3. aleyna says:

    I have tried this but it has not worked.

    I am trying to delete iTunes on my laptop because it is not detecting my iPod.


  4. Fadia says:

    IT WORKED. Thank you so much!!
    My iTunes didn’t recognize my iPhone and I tried everything, and this solution worked. Super easy, great advice!

  5. says:

    Thanks a bunch! I have saved the command and will find a way to automate this each boot, problem solved!

    Virtually, there is no reason to keep this enormous piece of excrement installed, In my 53 years, while working on all types of OS systems from Linux, OSx, to Windows, I have never seen such an obtrusive program as iTunes. If you make even a small mistake and click yes, it will also destroy your MP3 collection. Good thing I make back-ups.

    Thanks again.

  6. JPH says:

    I tried this Terminal action, but it did not delete iTunes, just said that ‘Operation not permitted’ for each and every line of thing it tried to delete/remove.

    In the Get Info box, under the ‘Sharing & Permissions’ section, it shows four names: ‘everyone’ (Custom privilege), ‘system’ (Read & Write privilege), ‘wheel’ , and then another ‘everyone’ (the last two having Read Only privileges), and unable to change any of the privileges, saying that I do not have the necessary permission to do so.

    I am wanting to go back to previous version of iTunes, because latest version “fixed” a “problem” that was in iTunes since the beginning, and they just got around to fix… and it ended breaking something that was never broken with me since the beginning. Apple Support guy, told me there was no fix, unless I reverted back to the last previous version, before the “fix”, and directed me to the previous versions downloads page.

    Yet, I can’t install the previous version, because it says I already have a newer version, and can’t delete the latest version.


  7. Ryan says:

    There are plenty of reasons to delete itunes. It’s a bloated app that just takes up space and is useless if you don’t use an iphone. Love my mac, don’t need the iphone accessories.

  8. nick says:

    I’d be super areful with this advice. I followed it to the letter, and iTunes will now not work. Says I am missing a DLL. Reinstalling iTunes doesn’t help.

    So now my iPhone doesn’t work and my Macbook’s iTunes doesn’t work. Double fail.

  9. Alex says:

    When I plug in my Iphone 6plus it tells me it cannot sync with iTunes because it needs a newer version – I ALREADY HAVE THE NEWEST VERSION!!!! ugh… I love my mac but when it has issues like this I keep looking at my windows PC and start to miss it…

  10. Tom says:

    The reasons to uninstall iTunes are plentiful.
    1. It’s a cumbersome program but is the default to play all types of audio for god knows what reason.
    2. For those who don’t own an iPod or use a service like spotify to sync their music, having itunes makes things a little annoying.
    3. It’s essentially apple bloatware. It has its uses but theres just as little reason to keep as any other app that does you know good.
    Bonus: Who cares? the library stays and your purchases are linked to your account. You can bring it back with the snap of your fingers.

  11. Atiq Zabinski says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this info. There is indeed a very good reason to uninstall iTunes — there’s no other way to install an earlier, less obnoxious version! But if you’re going to do that, you will also need to force-quit the iTunes Helper and delete a bunch of files from your library. Details in this MacWorld article (which otherwise is out of date):

  12. Fer says:

    Tks a lot, veryyyyyyy good, i had to delete because i can’t take my voice notes on new version 11.5 i don’t know way, maybe something wrong happened when i did update, so i need one old version t think, at least after you i can try wherever i want :))))) very good

  13. cook says:

    Thank you.
    Had to resort to unistalling because iTunes kept randomly opening by itself and I couldn’t find the reason for it.

  14. evi says:

    I’ve tried. but I can’t enter the password. could u help me out?

    I need to delete my itunes, after update the software then I can’t open Itunes now it says error -45054

    anyone know why? I need help please….


    • Silkajsf says:

      The password doesn’t show as you type. Just type even though it seems like it’s not working. Then press enter. It will work.

  15. Tyty says:

    Worked !!! thx!

  16. Albe Sure says:

    If you’re STILL having difficulties completely removing iTunes 11 and reverting back to iTunes 10.7, then check this out…

    Kind regards,


  17. Marc says:

    The iTunes Terms & Conditions have changed.

    i deleted itunes but it keeps coming up with the above on update is there a way to stop it.

  18. James says:

    thats why i have window its sad you have to type commands in i hate macbooks there is variation between any of the models well with an extra usb port

  19. shigzeo says:

    There are loads of options for music playback: VOX, COG, VLC (does a lot more than just music), and some UNIX ports, but iTunes, thanks to Apple’s obsession with putting everything into one app, is the only way to make your iDevice sing with your computers.


  20. Spokanite says:

    I can see this needed for public computers and schools, but considering there is no real iTunes alternative out there, uninstalling the application is a bad idea.

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